Fact file: Swine flu and safety measures*

What is it? It is a virus that mutated from pigs and transmitted to some humans Which places have been affected? Mexico City, California and Texas, so far How many have been killed? 103 people in Mexico City How many have been infected? Mexican authorities are investigating 1,614 suspected cases. The flu is spreading with 20 cases in the United States and four in Canada. New Zealand reported 15 new suspected cases. Is there a cure? The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states that there is no vaccine to specifically protect humans from swine flu, only to protect pigs. Although GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s flu treatment Relenza and Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu appear effective against the strains of the virus the CDC has tested. What are authorities doing to contain the virus? The World Health Organization went on high alert, dispatching top experts to the United States and Mexico. The CDC has also set up emergency operation centres.
Signs and symptoms
– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
– Sudden dizziness Confusion Severe or persistent vomiting
– Fever with a rash (among children) Bluish skin color (among children)
Easy ways to protect against infection
– Little can be done to prevent an outbreak of flu from spreading, health experts caution, but they say common sense measures can help individuals protect themselves.
Practice the following:
– Wash your hands frequently – Cover your cough or your sneeze
– Use alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers
– If you have flu-like symptoms, stay away from work or public transportation
– Social distancing. Stay away from people who might be infected.
*Sandeep D’souza UAE (Published: April 25, 2009, 09:31)

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